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Federal Grand Jury Investigating Rowland Campaign and Consulting Ties.

A federal criminal grand jury has been investigating the connection between former Governor John G. Rowland’s campaign activities and his private consulting work, Daily Ructions has learned. The investigation began after April revelations of Rowland’s dual roles as an “unpaid volunteer” for Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley’s congressional campaign and a consultant for Wilson-Foley’s family business, Apple Rehab nursing facilities. Rowland, who hosts an afternoon radio program on WTIC 1080, entered into a $5,000 a month contract to provide consulting services to Apple Rehab through a Branford lawyer who does work for Apple Rehab. The 6 month contract began on October 1, 2011 but was not signed until 6 weeks later.

Federal investigators, armed with the authority of the New Haven-based grand jury, have used their broad power to gather evidence of the nexus between Rowland’s ostensible business and political pursuits. It is a crime to use a conduit to pay for campaign services.

Rowland, Wilson-Foley, and her husband Brian Foley, who runs the family enterprise, denied any connection between the consulting contract and Rowland’s aggressive work on behalf of the campaign. Rowland had been critical of Wilson-Foley opponent state Senator Andrew Roraback on his radio program before news of the contract broke. Wilson-Foley rival Justin Bernier claimed Rowland stopped inviting him on the air last fall.

Wilson-Foley’s claim that there was no connection between the business contract and her campaign looked more doubtful when Republican Mark Greenberg, who is also seeking the party’s nomination for the open 5th Congressional District seat, revealed Rowland approached him during his 2010 campaign with a scheme to help recruit supporters in exchange for a lucrative consulting contract with Greenberg’s non-profit animal shelter.

Wilson-Foley’s provided a muted response to the arrest of Democratic congressional candidate Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan’s finance director in May for a botched scheme to hide $20,000 in illegal contributions to Donovan’s campaign. While others, including Democrats Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen, expressed alarm at the news of the results of the federal investigation into Donovan, Wilson-Foley’s campaign would say only that “we don’t feel we’re in a position to comment on it,” the Courant reported. Her spokesman said today he has no knowledge of an investigation into Rowland’s campaign and business consulting activities.

Rowland resigned as governor in 2004 and went to prison for corruption in 2005.